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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

CHAPTER   II

THE DISPERSION  OF  GREEK EDUCATION

x, TEE HELLENIZATION OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

WITH the rise of the Macedonian Empire and the eclipse of the
Greek States, the civilization of Greece stepped out of its national
limitations and became the common civilization of all the nations
on the shores of the Mediterranean. The change was not a mere
accident of conquest, but was in the nature of things* After the
epoch-making discovery of Greek philosophy that man's dis-
tinctive character depends on his reason and not on any qualities
restricted to a particular people or caste, it was a fundamental
contradiction to attempt to confine culture to the aristocracy of
a Greek city, as Plato and Aristotle had done ; and the recognition
of a class of men in the ideal States of both philosophers, whose
deepest interests were outside politics altogether, was an implicit
admission of the contradiction. If they had been able to read
the signs of the times aright, they would have seen that hence-
forth education could not be confined within national or racial
bounds, and must sooner or later take a cosmopolitan form in
which sectional considerations would be at best of secondary
importance.

As a matter of fact, the disruption of the city States of Greece,
which had to take place before Hellenism could become the
common civilization of the world, had already begun in the
half-century before the Macedonian conquest. The downfall
of Athens in 404 u.c. upset the equilibrium of Greece, and most
of the Greek States were convulsed with a succession of intestinal
struggles and political revolutions which weakened their powers
of resistance and sent great numbers of exiles wandering through-
out the world. It was a happy chance that gave the ascendancy
at this time to a nation which, though not itself Greek, had come
so strongly under the apell of Greece that its victory, instead of
destroying the Greek spirit, set it free for a career of world-wide
influence* Under the leadership of Alexander the Great, Mace-
donia brought under subjection all the leading nations of the East

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